About 200 local veterans are searching for a new way to see their doctor.
The Emporia VA clinic is set to close by June.
Emporia has a rich history celebrating veterans. In fact, Veterans Day was founded in Emporia.
“I live in Emporia, Kansas, I spent 10 years on active duty and I spent 20 years in the Army Reserves,” said John Sanderson.
Sanderson served as a district judge in Emporia for 18 years.
“One of the things I did after I retired was I drove patients to the VA hospitals in Topeka, Leavenworth, Kansas City and occasionally Wichita, but very seldom,” said Sanderson.
The VA monitors clinic utilization rates and said the rates in Emporia were too low. The team at this clinic supports two other clinics and they are only in Emporia two days out of the week.
“We determined that our veterans deserve quicker access to care,” said Tom Boos at the Colmery-O’Neil VA Medical Center in Topeka. “In the event something happened over the weekend or they would get sick Monday through Wednesday, under the new VA Mission Act of 2018, those veterans that live in the Emporia and Lyon County community now have the opportunity to seek that care within their local community.”
But Sanderson is concerned about how veterans will find new service.
“I’ve never been in that clinic when there were any extra chairs,” said Sanderson.
Boos said they evaluated the healthcare options in Emporia before making the decision.
“We determined that they have a strong medical community within the Emporia area,” said Boos. “So we really felt that was going to be a real benefit.”
Sen. Jerry Moran will visit Emporia on March 30th for a town hall to hear concerns about the move.